September 2007


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Another very sad aspect of Iraq war is told by Tom van B at NowPublic: Amid the extraordinary conditions and disorder brought by the war, Iraq’s rich archaeological heritage has been looted and pillaged. Sumerian and Chaldean artifacts were plundered; walls and remains of ancient Ur were cracked and damaged. Probably, many priceless artifacts are lost forever for the humanity now. Another contribution of Bush & Cheney gang to the world.

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Armies of looters have destroyed much of what remains of Mesopotamia’s storied past.

Iraq's Cultural Heritage Looted, Pillaged

2,000-year-old Sumerian cities torn apart and plundered by robbers. The very walls of the mighty Ur of the Chaldees cracking under the strain of massive troop movements, the privatisation of looting as landlords buy up the remaining sites of ancient Mesopotamia to strip them of their artefacts and wealth. The near total destruction of Iraq’s historic past – the very cradle of human civilisation – has emerged as one of the most shameful symbols of our disastrous occupation.
Evidence amassed by archaeologists shows that even those Iraqis who trained as archaeological workers in Saddam Hussein’s regime are now using their knowledge to join the looters in digging through the ancient cities, destroying thousands of priceless jars, bottles and other artefacts in their search for gold and other treasures.

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Another enigmatic news story came from Peru this morning: Scores became ill and some animals died after a mysterious “fireball” appeared in Peruvian skies. BBC News Service reports:

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A crater made apparently by a meteorite in Peru

The crater has been spewing fetid gases, reports say

Hundreds of people in Peru have needed treatment after an object from space – said to be a meteorite – plummeted to Earth in a remote area, officials say.

They say the object left a deep crater after crashing down over the weekend near the town of Carancas in the Andes.
People who have visited scene have been complaining of headaches, vomiting and nausea after inhaling gases.
A team of scientists is on its way to the site to collect samples and verify whether it was indeed a meteorite.
“It [the object] is buried in the earth,” local resident Heber Mamani told the BBC.
“That is why we are asking for an analysis because we are worried for our people. They are afraid. A bull is dead and some other animals are already sick,” he said.
The incident began on Saturday night, when people near Carancas in the Puno region, some 1,300km (800 miles) south of Lima, reported seeing a fireball in the sky coming towards them.

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Agencies report a second big quake, M 7.8 just hit Sumatra, after the initial tremor of 8.4 that shook the island yesterday. Many buildings collapsed and casualties are still to be reported. Looks like the Pacific Ring of Fire enters a new restless period with even more upcoming quakes and volcanic eruptions.

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A man walks through his collapsed house in Bengkulu

Hundreds of buildings were damaged by the tremors

Another powerful earthquake has hit the Indonesian island of Sumatra, a day after the world’s strongest tremor so far this year caused extensive damage.

At least nine people were killed and many buildings damaged. But the full scale of the impact has yet to emerge.
Tsunami warnings were repeatedly issued and lifted, as many people ran inland fearing a repeat of the 2004 tsunami.
Thursday’s magnitude-7.8 quake hit the same area in southern Sumatra as the tremor of 8.4 on Wednesday.
“Many buildings collapsed after this morning’s [Thursday’s] quake. We’re still trying to find out about victims,” Padang Mayor Fauzi Bahar told a local radio station.
Casualties appear to be lower than first feared, but officials warn that bad communications may be hiding the scale of the impact.

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Another powerful earthquake jolted Indonesia’s Sumatra island this morning and an Indian Ocean – wide tsunami warning was issued. Still no reports on damage and casualties. Experts say, this was the strongest quake that hit Indonesia since a deadly tremor and a powerful tsunami hit the island on the Boxing Day in 2004. BBC News reports:

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A powerful earthquake has struck off the western Indonesian island of Sumatra, triggering a tsunami alert.

The tremor had a magnitude of 7.9, according to the Indonesian Meteorological Institute.
It caused buildings in the capital, Jakarta, to sway, and was felt in other parts of the region. There are no reports of damage or casualties.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre issued a tsunami alert for the entire Indian Ocean region following the latest quake.
It says it is not known whether a tsunami has been generated.
Wednesday’s earthquake struck at 1810 (1110 GMT), about 15km (nine miles) under the sea, some 100km (60 miles) south-west of the city of Bengkulu, the US Geological Survey said.
The BBC’s Lucy Williamson in Jakarta says this was the most powerful earthquake in Indonesia since the one which caused the Asian tsunami in 2004, and was dangerously shallow.

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